NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville judge has postponed the trial of two former Vanderbilt football players who were convicted of rape but ordered to face another trial after the convictions were thrown out on appeal.
The delay comes in spite of objections of prosecutors, who argued that it will be difficult for the alleged victim.
Former players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey had been scheduled to be tried again on Nov. 30.
A jury convicted them in January of raping an unconscious female student in a dorm room at the Nashville school. The verdicts were later thrown out after it was revealed that a juror failed to disclose that he had been a victim of statutory rape.
Prosecutors, during a hearing Monday in Nashville, argued that there were many reasons why the trial should not be postponed.
"But of even greater importance is that there is a victim in this case," Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman told the judge. She said the woman had already planned to come back to Tennessee next month.
The former neuroscience and economics major is pursuing a graduate degree at a school out of state. She testified at the trial that she has no memory of the alleged attack.
Vandenburg got new lawyers after the first trial, and they said they needed more time to prepare.
The next trial is expected to be as sensational as the first. It featured graphic photos and videos that prosecutors say were taken by players during the alleged attack in June 2013.
The headline-grabbing details came amid a national conversation about rape on campus that is still going on around the country. The case also has raised questions about the role of bystanders in sexual assaults at schools.
Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins agreed that the new lawyers needed more time. The judge was also concerned about the timing of picking jurors who must come from Chattanooga to hear the case due to all the publicity.
A new trial is likely to be set for March or April.
The judge ruled that Vandenburg and Batey will be tried together, though they had asked for separate trials. Watkins will decide later whether defense attorneys at the next trial can ask whether the alleged victim had ever been part of an effort that uses attractive female students to help recruit athletes. Prosecutors have said there is no such program at Vanderbilt.
Two other former players are also charged with rape but have not gone to trial. All four have pleaded not guilty.